UK approves single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine


The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) of the United Kingdom on May 28, 2021, gave its approval to its fourth vaccine Janssen of Johnson & Johnson. It is a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine that will be administered in the country in a bid to grow the inoculation drive across the country.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that this single-dose COVID-19 vaccine will play a crucial role in protecting people from the virus.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock also tweeted that the mass vaccination campaign, the biggest in Britain’s history saved more than 13,000 lives from COVID-19 infection. Now we have four effective and safe to use vaccines approved to protect people from the virus, Hancock further said.

UK has put an order for 20 million doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. The J&J vaccine showed an efficacy of 72 per cent in the trials by the US. Britain has been administering doses of Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Pfizer. So far, the country has administered 62 million of the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines.

The European Medicines Agency in April had recommended adding a warning about unusual blood clots with low blood platelet to the product information of the J&J vaccine after noting few cases in the US.

The US Food and Administration (FDA) in April 2021 had also notified of six cases of blood clots out of more than 6.8 million doses administered. However, after a review and a short pause on vaccination with Janssen, the FDA concluded that the vaccine is safe and effective.

The UK is apprehensive of reopening the country on June 21 due to the rise in the number of cases amid the emergence of COVID variants.

About Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

•Janssen is a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine by Johnson & Johnson authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be administered on all above 18 years.

•Janssen has been authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Medicine Agency (EMA), and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

•Janssen is a viral vector vaccine based on adenovirus, a group of viruses responsible for the common cold. The adenovirus in the Janssen vaccine has been genetically modified in a way that mimics the COVID-19 virus.

•When the human body is administered a dose of Janssen, it produces a cellular-immune response (antibodies) against the antigens that are mimicking the COVID-19’s spike protein.

•This way the human body learns a specific, effective immune response and produces antibodies against the virus if in case the body gets exposed to actual COVID infection in the future.

•Janssen had shown 85 percent efficacy in preventing severe COVID-19 cases while 66 per cent efficacy against mild symptomatic COVID-19.

•Janssen is administered in a similar way as the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 Vaccination in the UK

•Britain has been administering doses of Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Pfizer. So far, the country has administered 62 million of the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines.

•More than 38 million adults have received their first dose of a vaccine.

•As of May 28, 2021, the UK registered 4,182 new COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths within 28 days.  The country has registered a total of 4,473,681 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 127,758 deaths since January 2020.

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